Paul McCartney’s Version of ‘Monarch of the Glen’ by Peter Blake Could Be Shown Next to Original

Scotland has a few weeks left to secure funds to keep the national treasure.

Sir Paul McCartney (left) and Sir Peter Blake (right) in 2014. Photo David M. Benett/Getty Images for Eco-Age/Green Carpet Collection.
Sir Paul McCartney (left) and Sir Peter Blake (right) in 2014. Photo David M. Benett/Getty Images for Eco-Age/Green Carpet Collection.

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer’s 1851 The Monarch of the Glen—one of Scotland’s most iconic paintings and currently the subject of a frenzied fundraising campaign to keep it in the country—could be shown alongside a version by Peter Blake commissioned by Paul McCartney.

The original’s current owner, the whisky giant Diageo, was poised to sell the £10 million ($12 million) national treasure at Christie’s London last year.

But in November 2016, according to the BBC, the company signed an agreement with the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) whereby the company will gift half the painting’s value to allow the gallery to buy it for £4 million, with a deadline set for March 17.

Blake—who painted a version of the 19th-century original for McCartney’s Scottish hideaway in 1966—has backed the fundraising campaign, which has just £750,000 ($935,000) left to raise to buy the painting.

“I met Paul McCartney in 1963 and in 1964 he asked if he could buy or commission a painting from me,” Blake told the Scotsman.

“He had just got the Mull of Kintyre [property] and had bought a painting of Highland cattle in a stream. I said: ‘Let’s do a picture to match that and I’ll draw a nice stag for you.’ The best stag ever is the Landseer painting The Monarch Of The Glen. I did it in acrylic, which is incredibly stupid, because to get all that mistiness in a paint that dries very quickly is very difficult. It would’ve been much easier to do it in oil paint.”

If the 19th-century original does indeed remain in Scotland, Sir Peter Blake’s version, which has been hanging for years at McCartney’s London offices, could go on display alongside it.

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, The Monarch of the Glen (1851). Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, The Monarch of the Glen (1851). Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

“It’s really nice that the friendship and the artistic connection between Paul McCartney and Peter Blake goes through The Monarch Of The Glen,” Sir John Leighton, NGS’s director-general, told the Scotsman.

“I know Paul McCartney still has the painting. We’d like to be able to get it on loan. We weren’t able to do it in the time that we have at the moment, but we’d like to do that at some point in the future. It would be nice to put them on display together.”

“For many years, it was too beautiful, too corny and wasn’t considered to be a great picture, but it has grown to be one. It has earned its right to be a great picture. I very much hope it will stay in Scotland. It’s a national icon,” Blake said of the original that inspired his first collaboration with the former Beatles member, before he went to on to design the famous cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).


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